NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet says he was “completely shocked” and “incredibly disappointed” at a video of maskless singing and dancing at a Hillsong Church youth camp near Newcastle.
- Authorities are weighing up whether to fine Hillsong Church for breaching COVID-19 rules
- Footage shows singing and dancing at a youth camp
- Health authorities deemed the event in breach of COVID-19 rules
Health authorities yesterday demanded singing and dancing immediately stop at the event, as NSW Police intervened to “ensure future compliance” with COVID-19 restrictions.
The video showed hundreds of participants maskless, singing and dancing inside a large tent with performers on stage.
“I echo the frustration and anger that people right across the state have felt,” Mr Perrottet said on Friday.
Mr Perrotet said it was his “expectation” a fine would be issued.
“I’ll take the advice in relation to the legal teams at NSW Health and if they are in breach, which is what the information I’ve received from the Health Minister is, then a fine should be issued.”
The maximum penalty for a corporation breaching public health orders is $55,000.
‘Not similar to a music festival in any way’
Recent changes to public health orders banned singing and dancing at music festivals, hospitality venues, nightclubs, entertainment facilities and major recreation facilities.
While the order does not apply to religious services, NSW Health has deemed the event a major recreation facility and therefore subject to the ban on singing and dancing.
Prior to NSW Health’s intervention on Thursday, Hillsong Church insisted the event had strict health protocols and was “not similar to a music festival in any way”.
Charlestown MP Jodie Harrison said she was “very disturbed” by the footage, and urged Hillsong to “comply with the laws” if it was to be welcomed back to the region.
Music industry outrage grows
A chorus of music industry figures has taken to social media to voice outrage at the camp.
“While all other music festivals are heading down the toilet same as last year, Hillsong are no masks, singing and dancing like we’ve all been told not to do,” country singer Troy Cassar-Daley posted.
Dominic Perrottet said he understood the music industry would be “outraged” at the Hillsong event.
“I very much appreciate the sacrifices those festival organisers have made,” he said.